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What are Corticosteroids?

September 30, 2011
Arthritis Injection

Arthritis Injection

Corticosteroids are strong drugs that can be a valuable arthritis treatment option for those patients with knee osteoarthritis.  Corticosteroids resemble a hormone called cortisol.  Cortisol helps the body deal with stresses like emotional problems, injury, surgery, or infections.

So what corticosteroid injections do is trigger the immune system to block inflammation and allergic reactions.  Short term treatments for osteoarthritis is usually prescribed at low to moderate doses over a one or two week period.  The idea is to achieve quick joint pain relief and a reduction in swelling.  Long term therapy is usually for severe rheumatoid arthritis.

However these powerful drugs can have severe side effects.  Used for short treatment, corticosteroids are relatively safe.  However long term corticosteroid side effects can include increased appetite, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, or growth of facial hair.



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